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The Missing World

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Following the acclaimed Criminals comes a spellbinding new novel that confirms Margot Livesey's place "right up there," as Liz Smith wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "in the realm of P. D. James and the esteemed Patricia Highsmith."

What if -- by stroke of fortune -- you could start afresh, could wipe away that catastrophic blunder in your past? And to what lengths would you go to establish that in fact you'd done nothing wrong at all? After an accident robs Hazel of three years' worth of memory, just such an opportunity is granted to Jonathan, undone by his betrayal of this woman, whom he professes to love above all. While he begins to rewrite their history, two other misfits -- an American sojourner and a luckless English actress -- knock about London, each of them haunted by indelible memories they would much rather forget. Eventually their hopes of redemption draw them toward Jonathan's house, where Hazel has become a virtual prisoner . . .

Replete with compelling characters and extravagantly plotted, The Missing World weaves together these separate quests for love and truth in a manner both thrilling and, ultimately, revealing about our imperfect lives.

From Publishers Weekly

Jan 03, 2000 – The title of Livesey's new novel (after Criminals), another intriguing exploration of interlocking lives, refers to the memory lapse suffered by 31-year-old journalist Hazel Ransome after she is struck by a car. When she awakes in the hospital, her amnesia blocks out the previous three years, including the fact that she had left her erstwhile lover, Jonathan Littleton, because he had tried to exert sinister control over her life. To Jonathan, an insurance claims adjuster, Hazel's memory gap is a boon; he makes her a virtual prisoner in his house in North London while attempting to keep her in the dark about the circumstances that led to her departure. Gradually disclosing small but chilling details, Livesey reveals Jonathan's psychotic personality and his barely suppressed rage and need for dominance, while integrating the stories of several other characters who will precipitate a crisis in Jonathan and Hazel's relationship. Freddie Adams, a 6'2" African-American graduate of Stanford barely making a living as a roofer, is subject to paralyzing depressions; he feels an immediate empathy with Hazel when he comes to the house to make repairs. Chronically out-of-work actress Charlotte Granger, a liar and a drinker, also comes into Hazel's life, via her no-nonsense sister, who is Hazel's nurse. Inverting Hazel's amnesia, both Freddie and Charlotte are tortured by memories they would obliterate if they could. Former actor Donald Early, who now constructs plastic heads for films and TV; Jonathan's next door neighbor, Mrs. Craig, who does yoga and Eastern meditation; and Hazel's duplicitous friend Maud complete the circle, which locks together in a bedroom scene that comes close to erotic farce: it's the only part of the book that stretches credulity. Adroitly paced, meticulously plotted and increasingly suspenseful, the novel transcends its genre as psychological thriller. Livesey's characterizations are rich and resonant, imbuing the narrative with integrity and complexity. Once again, she has written a book that begs to be read in one sitting, and rewards with insights into the hidden wellsprings of human behavior.
The Missing World
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Jan 25, 2000
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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